For this show I interview the inimitable Linda Chalker-Scott, author, editor, blogger, podcaster, educator and sustainable gardener, on how to put the garden to bed in autumn. I may have kept her on the topic of mulching a bit overlong, but hey, it’s one of those things that people who’ve done it take for granted, and those who haven’t can find completely baffling: when? with what? how deep?
As I write this and prepare to announce that all those questions and many more are answered on the podcast, I realize with a sinking feeling that the last one (how deep?) may not have been addressed—incredible, given how much time we spent on the topic! So let me say it here: several inches, as much as six in cold areas, if you’re truly trying to keep the soil Continue reading
This year will go down as the do-or-die digging marathon. Remember those four plots I've undertaken to tame and plant this summer? Here it is, mid-July and then some, and I'm still at it.
The first of the four was by far the simplest. Which may be a good thing, as it therefore got planted before the growing season was half over. Of course, there may be a difference of opinion about just how simple the job was; a certain brother-in-law of mine may be inclined to point out that I can call it simple because I didn't do most of the work. Do not listen to him.
Plot 1 was the last (of six) to be tamed in a garden its owners had given up on. They simply got too busy to garden, and several seasons back, they said sure, I could garden there, if only I'd tackle the weeds. Here's what it looked like when I started:
As of this summer:
Not to blow my own horn or anything, but– Ta-dah!
I'm in Toronto visiting my mother and getting ready for a major gathering at the University of Toronto to honor my father, so I won't be posting much this week. Still, I couldn't resist trying to describe yesterday's weather.
I shouldn't complain. After a brief cool spell in late August that left me gnashing my teeth (were we really going to be cheated of autumn this year, after having had practically no spring and only half a summer?) temperatures rose again and we had a long, warm Indian summer straight through October and into November. There was frost several mornings a week, and temperatures in the twenties some nights—after all, this is Montana—but during the day, we'd see fifties, even sixties.
Given that we had a wringing wet spring that culminated with the wettest June on record, punctuated by frequent hail, this long, warm autumn was especially welcome. I was still picking not only lettuce, broccoli, and of course kale, but even tomatoes right into November.
Of course, it couldn't last. Two weekends ago, on an almost balmy Sunday afternoon, my husband and I washed windows and got the storm windows up. The next day it snowed.
When I got up Tuesday, the temperature in our back room, where we’ve been sleeping since my surgery, was 39ºF, or just under 4ºC. Upstairs in the bedroom we’re not using, I hit the “on” button of an electric heater to check the temperature there: 26ºF (-3ºC). I’m considering opening the refrigerator door downstairs to help heat that room, and using the bedroom as a freezer.